I write about culture from a pro-Black perspective

Flashback: Bobby Brown Singing Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song For You’

At 10 years old, you couldn't tell me Bobby Brown wasn't the illest brotha in the world.

Twenty years later, you still can't.

I might have watched this 5 or 6 times in a row before deciding to post it here. There is something special about watching a great artist at the peak of his powers.

Bobby Brown was known for his high-energy, controversial performances. But his considerable vocal skills have been forgotten, I think.  He's fantastic here, nailing the song, but also giving it a new jack swing and a gospel flair (particularly when the background singers go in) that makes it a little different.



Posted on January 6th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
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Still Goes Hard

Bell Biv Devoe joints, that is:

 

 

 

These songs are just timeless, even as they evoke a very specific time and place. I find that so fascinating. It's the mark of a great song, IMO.

Also – it is strange to me that Mike and Ronnie do not say the word "ho" but Ronnie still says that really disgusting "me and the crew used to do her" line.  He's said before he has always hated that line, but every performance I've seen since BBD reunited he says it.

Might be time to just rewrite that line.



Posted on February 24th, 2011 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
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Bobby Brown – ‘Get Out The Way’

I have a tremendous love for Bobby Brown. Don’t Be Cruel and Bobby still go hard. And New Edition….I mean…New Edition.  Nothing more need be said.

You know, people joke about Whitney calling him the “King of R&B,” but that’s mostly because we have forgotten just how huge an artist Bobby was in the late 80s – and how hugely influential his career has truly been. Other than Michael Jackson and Prince, no black male was selling the kind of units Bobby was selling. And no one was doing it – not even Mike or Prince – by helping to create a new genre of black pop (new jack swing). There may not be a “King of R&B” but no other artist is closer to earning that title than Bobby Brown.

But listening to this song just makes you realize that Bobby’s instincts are just not as sharp as they were when he was 19.  There is nothing – other than the pleasant realization that his voice, rougher than it was 20 years ago, is still wonderfully expressive – really notable about this song. It sounds both underproduced and overproduced, and ironically, unfinished.

I’d love a Bobby Brown comeback. I’d love it if he had a Santana-like late career renaissance. But this doesn’t sound like it.



Posted on February 3rd, 2011 - Filed under Music
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On Traveling

My favorite thing about traveling is the quality time I get to spend with my iPod. I’m aware of how that sounds. Sure, I like new places, new people – turns out Omaha steaks really are one of the great pleasures on God, Buddha and nem’s green earth – but what really makes me excited is how new experiences color old habits.

There is a heightened awareness that I think happens when you are in new places. You pay attention, not just because you are taking things in but because you are trying to get your bearings. Customs, smells, the way Google Maps becomes your best friend – all of this requires you to be open and cognizant.

And for me, I find that that leads to hearing music I love differently.

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Posted on October 29th, 2010 - Filed under Music
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How Michael Jackson Should Do His Comeback

There is quite a bit of chatter about the kind of album that Michael Jackson should be doing.  The current producer/songwriter names rumored to be working on Mike’s comeback album range from Ne-Yo (naturally) to Akon to will.i.am.

And folks are talking about what constitutes a great Mike comeback album, some good and some eh…not so good.

So I’ve decided to put together my dream list of collaborators for Mike.

Singer Michael JacksonHow I like to think of Mike.

Full disclosure: my favorite Mike album is Dangerous, though I do think that creatively Off The Wall is his strongest (only because Dangerous is overlong and the Free Willy song and Heal The World are on there).

That said, I don’t want him to recreate either of those albums.

But I do want him to go into this album with the same mindset that created those albums.  That is: I want him to collaborate with the best songwriters of this generation to make an album that is both current and timeless.

Key words: current, timeless, songwriters.

So:

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Posted on September 24th, 2008 - Filed under Music
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